There's everything to like about a good, solid, long-standing community festival. Number one? That the community is actually hosting a festival, which is no small hill of beans, what with the organizing and the wrangling and the scheduling and the managing of personalities. (If you've ever met people, or are one, you know this last skill is necessary.)
But they can be a little passive, too, if all you're doing is watching entertainment and collecting local lit and leaving. Santa Monica, though, is not a passive city -- that's one of its many charms, right? -- and its venerable late-spring celebration reflects its all-hands-in spirit.
It's the Santa Monica Festival of which we speak, an outdoorsy, free kind of hang-out that turns 22 on Saturday, June 1. That counts as "venerable" in our book -- we know, we pulled that word out in the last paragraph -- but this is how you get to be venerable: Include people.
Which the Clover Park gathering does. Demos and DIY are the order of the day, which means that you won't simply watch dance groups dance on a stage (which is excellent); you'll get to learn a few hip shakes on your own. Do it yourself art workshops will also be accommodating creative types looking to get their hands into something new.
And the Eco Zone is a major feature of the fest, yep yep. Is there anything more DIY than taking care of the home planet? We're all DIYers on this front, what with the personal responsibility and positive action.
It's free, it's Westside-y and plenty funky, and if you call that lovely area home bet you might run into a neighbor: Some 10,000 people attend. Date again? June 1. You again? Dancing, DIY-ing, eco-ing up your lifestyle, and enjoying La Vida Santa Monica.